By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 04 NOVEMBER 2020: The first Home for the Aged for Savaii Island today got its first donor in St.Vincent de Paul.
St. Vincent de Paul’s President, Leota Laki Lamositele presented 10 bed stands and mattresses for the Mapu-i-Pulotu Home of the Aged, housed at the Logoipulotu School, inland of Safotulafai village.
The project is spearheaded by the Logoipulotu Old Students Association Mapu-i-Pulotu Charitable Trust built on land owned by the Catholic Church.
“We are very happy to donate these as a contribution to the project, the construction of the first ever Home for the Aged in Savaii island,” Leota said.
“We want to lend our support to our people in Savaii and we hope they would be able to get two more beds for the 12 rooms under construction,” said Leota.
The donation was accepted by Masoe Charlie Vaai, a member of Logoipulotu Old Students Association Mapu-i-Pulotu Charitable Trust.
Savai’i needs a Home just like Mapuifagalele
Masoe said their Association realized the need for such a home when more requests from Savaii reached the Mapuifagalele Home for the Aged at Vailele.
Mapuifagalele is fully occupied and most of the requests for old people to be cared for there are on a long waiting list.
Masoe told Talamua that said once the Association approved the project, they approached the Catholic Church about their idea of turning the Logoipulotu School at Tapu’ele’ele into a Home for the aged for Savaii Island.
The church agreed and in 2018, the work started with the association fundraising and seeking donations for the project.
Twenty four rooms are in the plan for the whole project and 12 rooms are already completed.
Asked how they will keep the maintenance and sustainability of the project, Masoe said it won’t be easy as money is needed to maintain and keep the place running.
“The main issue is funding and with charitable associations, we rely on donations. We also had a chance to discuss with the Sisters at Mapuifagalele the problems they’re facing and their suggestions so we can keep maintenance at a low level,” Masoe told Talamua.
As for employees, Masoe said they have asked the church for assistance in recruiting Sisters from overseas to run the home.
The Logoipulotu Old Pupils Association has 60 members and they hope the whole project will be completed by mid-2021.
The Mapuifagalele Home for the Aged was established by the late Cardinal Pio Taofinuu in the 1970s amidst criticisms that such a place was not needed as Samoa’s family system takes care of its old citizens.
However, time has proven otherwise and the Catholic Church has managed to sustain the Home through donations and support of businesses, various people and organisations both local and overseas throughout the years.
The Home provides not only daily physical care but spiritual comfort and sustenance for its residents in their final years.